Wonky Fruit wins Oxfordshire SOUP to secure Co-op contract
An Oxfordshire business that creates chutneys, relishes and sauces from fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, has formed a successful partnership with The Midcounties Co-operative following a six-month trial in seven Oxfordshire stores.
Winner of Bicester’s first Oxfordshire SOUP, a live crowdfunding-meets-Dragon’s Den event sponsored by Bicester Innovation Centre, Wonky Fruit will use the prize fund of £1,600 towards a rebrand to Wonky Food Company, which will launch early next year.
Ashley Cavers, Co-Founder of Wonky Fruit, comments:
“We have been working closely with The Midcounties Co-operative’s local food team who have advised that our rebrand will help make us stand out in addition to reflecting that we create recipes from vegetables as well as fruit.
“The Wonky team is extremely grateful for the generous business support and prize money provided through the Oxfordshire SOUP event, which is vital in helping us reach the next stage of our exciting journey – seeing our range of tasty relishes sourced and sold in Midcounties Co-operative across Oxfordshire.”
Ms Cavers from Combe in West Oxfordshire successfully pitched Wonky Fruit to an Oxfordshire SOUP audience and judges to win financial aid, marketing and mentoring support. The event was held at The Bicester School to help inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Tom Hanney, Oxfordshire SOUP judge and Centre Manager, at Bicester and Cherwell Innovation Centres, comments: “The audience and judges were extremely impressed by the concept and the Wonky Fruit team. The business clearly has lots of potential and will help provide a solution for food waste in Oxfordshire and across the UK.”
Brother and sister, Ashley and John Cavers, founded Wonky Fruit in an attempt to try and reduce food waste and enlisted top local caterer Laura Snook, to create Wonky recipes. The company trademarked the Wonky name two years ago, ahead of Jamie Oliver’s national initiative to reclaim food waste.
Matt Fletcher, who heads up the Direct Sourcing Team at The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “We’ve had a long relationship with Wonky Fruit, which first started when we began donating our unsold fruit to the company so they could create delicious chutneys and relishes.
“We saw an opportunity to build on this partnership and help the team create a new brand that we could eventually stock on our shelves. We’re looking forward to introducing the first batch of the newly rebranded Wonky Food Company products to our Chipping Norton store in the new year. It’s hugely satisfying to provide this kind of support to local producers and see their products on our shelves for local customers to enjoy.”
The Wonky team is keen to hear from anybody who is part of the Oxfordshire food chain who would like to join them in their combat against food waste. For further information, visit: wonkyfruit.co.uk
The next Oxfordshire SOUP event will take place in West Oxfordshire and will be supported by West Oxfordshire District Council. For further information, visit: oxfordshiresoup.org
Tim Marstan, Deputy Head of The Bicester School, concludes: “It was great to see so many representatives from the business world at The Bicester School as part of the Oxfordshire SOUP event. The students benefitted from interacting with people who are involved daily in industry and thought the presentations were fantastic. They really appreciated the opportunity to vote alongside the representatives from the business community and found it invaluable as they seek to grow their own business venture.”